Questions – and the discussions they can stimulate – are the life-blood of small-group Bible study.
However, not all questions are equal, and some can actually bring a discussion to a full stop.
Melissa Kruger cautions against the following types of question:-
1. Captain obvious. While it can be helpful to prompt people to notice what’s actually there in the Bible text, some observation questions are simply inviting people to state the blindingly obvious. So, suggests Kruger:-
2. One-Word Wonders. If the question prompts a one-word answer (“Yes”, “No”, “God”, “Jesus”, “Right”, “Wrong”), then it’s probably best to re-frame it. So,
3. Mission Impossible. Be careful before you ask questions that no-one can answer. Although not mentioned specifically by Kruger, the danger may be that you have done some home-work on the text, and your question then inadvertently becomes a test of whether the others in the group know (or can guess) what’s inside your head. Kruger gives the following example:-
4. Too Much (Personal) Information. While it’s good to encourage people to be open with one another, care has to be taken with questions that force vulnerability when people aren’t ready for it. As Kruger puts it:-
Asking a question like, “Where are you struggling with sexual sin like David?” might lead to awkward silence or even more awkwardly, too many words (that can never be unheard).
Better, perhaps, to tackle such a sensitive subject a little less personally:-